I am a researcher and writer interested in new technologies that contribute to the social good
We are all familiar with the image of bounty hunters chasing those who skip bail. Nowadays, however, you might be surprised to learn that bounty hunting is also a big part of the cryptocurrency world.
Over the last few years, bounties have become the preferred method for blockchain startups to market an ICO. Simply put, a bounty is a payment or reward offered as an incentive for the accomplishment of a task.
[In bounty campaigns] projects offer some type of financial reward, in this case, native coins or tokens. People then perform some or several types of tasks for the project in exchange for that reward. — Tudor Stomff, CEO of Bountyhive
This quote highlights two important things about cryptocurrency bounties:
I am a big believer that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will transform society and the way we live. This is why I have participated in some bounties myself, over the years.
The hard part is finding the ones that are right for you, those that fit your skills and interests and those that are indeed legit. It is important to use good judgment and only choose projects you believe in.
There are other issues as well. Not all bounty campaigns are organized in the same manner and may have different rules. Many ask participants to track their own tweets, etc. and submit weekly reports. Sometimes the total rewards are not clear until the end of the campaign.
Occasionally, a bounty program might end without warning and participants never get paid. These are just some of the problems participants were previously facing.
This is where specialized bounty platforms come in. As the crypto space evolved and the number of bounties proliferated, a number of platforms emerged with the intent to make organizing and accessing bounties easier. These platforms not only cater to hunters but also offer services to ICOs by tailoring bounty programs to fit their needs.
In this article, I want to focus on Bounythive as an example. It was the first specialized bounty platform to be launched in the cryptocurrency space, which has given me enough time to study and observe it. It is also recognized as the current industry-leader in this area.
Launched at the beginning of 2018, Bountyhive had over 100,000 users within six months and 10 million page views within a year. The platform has successfully run campaigns for an estimated 110 projects that have raised over $500M USD.
It currently supports eight different types of bounty campaigns, including social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Telegram, as well as content specific campaigns like translations, articles, videos and bug hunting & development.
According to its transparency reports, users have generated over 85M social media impressions, 20,000 articles and videos, and whitepaper translations in 15–20 different languages for every project. Per ICO value, users have earned tokens worth more than 80,000 ETH.
Bountyhive’s results can be boiled down to three main reasons:
More than just a platform, however, Bountyhive is also a turn-key marketing agency that takes care of PR, community management, social media management, digital advertising and organizing events such as conferences and meetups for blockchain projects.
Given the position of Bountyhive as a leader in cryptocurrency and blockchain marketing, it is interesting to consider how it sees bounty campaigns evolving in the future.
Bountyhive’s CEO has stressed that bounties are different from traditional forms of marketing because bounty hunters are people who want to support the projects they work with and are doing it sincerely:
There is an alignment of interests that you cannot find in any other kind of marketing; both parties want the company to succeed. This makes it very different from traditional marketing where a project would just pay a third party to make ads and develop branding. In the case of bounties, people only support the project if they actually believe in it. — Tudor Stomff, CEO of Bountyhive
Projects cannot assume the people participating in bounties need the money or that they are doing them a favor. They must instead understand that they are entering into a relationship based on mutual interest.
In my case, it was not the money that drew me to bounty campaigns, but rather the fact that I believe in the potential of blockchain technology to transform society. Bounties gave me an opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge tech developments and support projects I think have a social benefit.
Right now, marketing in the cryptocurrency space is mostly still about getting mass attention and mass publicity. However, the success of bounty campaigns suggests this could change in the near future.
Imagine if influencers, for example, instead of getting cash for a social media post would get equity in a company. If you transition this to blockchain you see this is effectively what bounties are doing right now. The only difference is the people who are doing bounties are not on the same level as influencers.
However, as the market becomes more regulated, as KYC becomes more important, and as we shift from ICOs to STOs, more and more people are going to find out about crypto and join the industry.
As this happens, bounty campaigns will develop into peer-to-peer marketing projects, since people get something very closely related to the company and have a stake in its success.
Bountyhive’s CEO argues this is the direction the industry is taking. I contacted him in preparation for writing this article to see what he thought the future of bounties would hold for the industry.
I was surprised to discover he is already working on a new project whose goal is to reorganize how we work, at a much larger scale. Stomff explained his goal is to create a model for a truly decentralized way of freelance working that would not depend on any particular platform.
For example, he explained on Fiverr you can “offer” a service, whereas on Upwork you can accept a temporary job, and on 99designs you put in bids and have competitions for jobs. If you want to use another model or need more customizability than the website you are currently using offers, you have to switch platforms and lose all the history you have built.
Thus, instead of trying to improve an outdated technology by building newer centralized platforms, Stomff argues a new model must be built from the ground up that supports all possible forms of collaboration among individuals/organizations.
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